A St Asaph woman has been spared jail after she stole thousands of pounds from a disabled pensioner.
A judge told Sharon Doherty she had abused her friendship with grandmother Jacqueline Hennigan for greed by taking £2,700 out of her bank account. She was given a suspended sentence after being convicted of fraud.
Doherty was caught by police when she was caught on CCTV withdrawing cash using Mrs Hennigan’s credit card, which she had taken from her purse.
Prestatyn magistrates court heard Mrs Hennigan, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, had known Doherty for several years via her neighbour. She had relied on her to help out with chores and was paid to walk her dog.
Prosecutors said Doherty heard Mrs Hennigan tell her daughter her pin number so she could buy some pyjamas while she was in hospital. Mrs Hennigan only discovered what had happened to her money when she checked her bank statements.
Doherty denied the charges. Her defence said she had not targeted Mrs Hennigan because their friendship had developed. An accident two years ago had left her without a job and facing financial troubles – but her lawyer admitted she had been ”opportunistic”, ”unsophisticated” and ”stupid”.
District judge Gwyn Jones told Doherty her crimes more than justified an immediate jail sentence: ”It is clear that she is a vulnerable person with a number of physical ailments that have an impact on her daily life…it no doubt came as a great shock to find that a person she trusted and treated as a friend abused that friendship by taking money on a regular basis.”
Doherty was sentenced to 26 weeks, suspended for a year. She was also banned from contacting Mrs Hennigan and entering her street for three years and must pay her £1850 in compensation as well as a total of £700 in costs. She must also observe a curfew for three months and take a 20-day rehabilitation course.